Own a Lexus? How’s the sunroof? Still there—intact? Maybe not for much longer…The luxury car maker got hit with a defective products lawsuit in October, over allegations its sunroofs spontaneously explode. That could certainly put a little excitement into your life. Several scenarios come to mind—none of them good.
According to Ginger Minoletti, who filed the Lexus sunroof lawsuit, she was traveling in her Lexus RX 350 on a California highway when the sunroof glass started making a loud noise. Minoletti says it sounded like the glass was cracking. Later on, she said she found pieces of glass inside the shade of the sunroof. Lucky that was all.
Apparently, there’s some defect that causes the glass to just shatter. You don’t even need to hit it with anything first—no prompting required. If you were a superstitious person, and even if you’re not, this could be quite disturbing.
According to the lawsuit, the sudden and obviously unexpected nature of these explosions leave drivers bewildered and trying to come up with an explanation for their no doubt shocked passengers, who may well be covered in glass shards.
The website carcomplaints.com, cites reports by Lexus owners, one made by an owner of a 2007 Lexus RX 350 in Austin, TX: “Travel back from New Orleans to Austin Texas on I-10 out in the middle of nowhere traveling 70mph and the sunroof on my Lexus RX-350 exploded into a shattering disaster. If shade had been opened it could have been detrimental bodily injury to myself or my passenger.”
And another by an owner of a 2013 Lexus GS 350 in Houston, TX: “2 month old car, was driving to work on a highway. Sunroof exploded and also got thousands of scratches from the shattered glass. I don’t understand why it’s not covered by manufacturer – anyway it’s not possible to prove anything to them.”
And another by an owner of a 2011 Lexus CT 200h in Washington, DC ….”I was driving back from Boston to DC. Just north of Newark Airport, while driving at highway speeds (60mph) there was a very loud explosive noise. Then I noticed a lot of wind noise in the car. I pulled off at the next rest stop and discovered that my sunroof was shattered. I had to make three trips to the dealership to find out what was going on. It took them 7 days to finally tell me that they would not cover the damage.”
Ah, there’s another problem. Who pays for the sunroof? Not Lexus, apparently. Minoletti claims that’s what happened to her. She got stuck paying for all the repairs to the sunroof because Lexus said the work wasn’t covered under warranty.
The kicker, according to the lawsuit, is that Lexus and its parent company Toyota have been aware of this issue since 2012, but, predictably, have done nothing to warn consumers.
Although the proposed class action lawsuit currently concerns California Lexus owners only, owners across the country have complained about having no warning the glass was getting ready to disintegrate.
The Lexus exploding sunroof lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles – Ginger Minoletti v. Toyota Motors Sales USA Inc.
Yes, it’s time for a flashback Friday! Remember all those great Volkswagen ads of years gone by? Simple. Witty. Dare I say…trustworthy. Best of all, they poked humor at themselves. They totally got how folks were like “wtf??” when they saw a car that resembled something you’d step on in a heartbeat. And they ran with it. Yesiree…totally ran—straight to the bank. And flower children everywhere made the VW Bug the automotive emblem of their age. Complete love-fest.
But that was then. Fast-forward to September 18, 2015 when news broke about something called a “defeat device“. It sounded like something you’d grab in Minecraft to kill the Ender Dragon—but alas, it turned out to be much more sinister. As we all now know, it’s what VW installed in its diesel autos to suppress emissions so that the cars would pass emissions testing on a dynamometer—aka a stationary “rolling road” used to test cars (and no, we didn’t know what that was either until a week ago). Those emissions, however, when on an actual road, were spewing upwards of 40x more toxic fumes than permitted. Uh-oh! Where’s the love now folks? To die-hard VW fans, it’s a jilt they’ll never get over.
And now there’s a stack of Volkswagen lawsuits piling up.
But it’s worth looking back…at some of those VW ads of yore, and imagining those same ads circa 2015. Yes, the ads on the right are totally fake–just to be clear. But it’s easy to see how they could well be art imitating life right now… so here goes…
Did you ever receive one of these Chrysler Dodge Ram recalls for defective steering-system tie rods that may have been misaligned during assembly or steering-system service? Did you bring your truck in to have the part replaced? What’s your experience?
Paycheck Rounding Error? Seems unpaid overtime is a popular theme these days. This week, a new unpaid overtime class action lawsuit was filed in the City of St. Louis on behalf of current and former nurses and medical professionals employed by BJC Healthcare System for violations of Missouri’s wage and hour laws and other violations of Missouri law. The lawsuit seeks unpaid overtime and straight-time wages resulting from BJC’s wage and hour practices. The lawsuit is entitled Speraneo v. BJC Health System Inc., d/b/a BJC Healthcare.
The BJC class action lawsuit alleges that BJC failed to properly pay employees for all time worked through its time recording policies and failed to pay overtime compensation to employees working over forty hours per week.
BJC’s timekeeping rounds down the amount of time employees work to the nearest quarter hour, despite having the exact times employees clocked into work and having computerized documentation of exact work times. This practice deprived employees of pay for compensable work time in violation of established work time regulations.
BJC automatically deducts time for meal breaks resulting in employees, such as nurses, not being paid for time actually worked. The lawsuit alleges that BJC knew that its employees, such as nurses, worked during the automatically deducted break time and as a custom and practice failed to pay employees for such compensable work.
The lawsuit also alleges that BJC failed to properly compensate employees for shift differential bonuses and pay overtime compensation at statutorily required rates of pay.
A sweet ending for Hershey employees? Seems that way—if a preliminary $500,000 settlement gets the green light. The preliminary settlement has just been approved in a California unpaid overtime and wage and hour class action lawsuit pending against Hershey.
The Hershey lawsuit alleges that the class members are owed wages including unpaid overtime and minimum wage pursuant to several sections of the California labor law and are owed premium pay for missed meal and rest periods also pursuant to various Labor Code sections. The lawsuit further claims that the class is entitled to “waiting time” penalties, and penalties for non-compliant wage statements and payroll records pursuant to various Labor Code sections, and that they are entitled to reimbursement for business expenses.
The lawsuit is brought by Shelley Rodrigues on behalf of herself and other similarly situated who were or are employed as retail sales merchandisers, as well as all other current and former hourly-paid or non-exempt merchandisers or person who held similar job titles and/or performed similar job duties in California.
The settlement class is defined as all current and former hourly part-time retail sales merchandisers employed by the Hershey Company in California at any time between July 23, 2008 and June 3, 2013, the Class Period.
Time for Honda to Feel the Burn? This is a biggie…Honda looks as if it’s ready to pony up some cash over a defective automobile class action lawsuit pending against it. The Japanese automaker was sued over allegations it made over 1.59 million vehicles that burn oil excessively and also require frequent spark plug replacements. That’s convenient.
The Honda lawsuit, filed in March 2012, alleges the Honda vehicles had a “systematic design defect that enables oil to enter into the engine’s combustion chamber.” The alleged defect led to “premature spark plug degradation and engine malfunction,” court documents state.
The lawsuit claims that Honda was aware of the problem but failed to notify consumers, allegations Honda denies, despite having issued a technical service bulletin notifying its technicians to check for the defect. The auto maker did not issue a recall because a safety issue was not discovered.
The preliminary Honda class action settlement includes all US purchasers and lessees of 2008-12 Accord, 2008-13 Odyssey, 2009-13 Pilot, 2010-11 Accord Crosstour and 2012 Crosstour vehicles equipped with six-cylinder engines that have variable cylinder management. Accord vehicles with four-cylinder engines are not included in the settlement.
Settlement terms include Honda extending the powertrain limited warranty for up to eight years after the original sale or lease of the vehicle. The preliminary settlement approval was given October 9, 2013, and the final fairness hearing is scheduled for March 21, 2014.
Ok Folks, That’s all for this week. Have a good one—see you at the bar!
Will Ford Follow in Toyota’s Footsteps? This week, consumers from 14 states filed a federal class action against Ford Motor Co. in connection with alleged defects in Ford’s vehicles causing and failing to prevent the unintended acceleration of those vehicles. Umm, remember that one? Toyota comes to mind…and they settled recently (more on that later).
Here’s the dirt: the plaintiffs contend that Ford vehicles equipped with an electronic throttle control system are vulnerable to sudden unintended acceleration events, and that Ford has admitted that some of its vehicles are in fact prone to such acceleration. Their complaint alleges that the Ford vehicles share a common design defect in lacking adequate fail-safe features, including a reliable brake-over-accelerator (BOA) system (also referred to as a “brake override system”). Such a system is designed to allow a driver to overcome unintended throttle opening by returning the throttle to idle when certain conditions are met, allowing a driver to mitigate unintended acceleration by depressing the brake.
The Ford lawsuit also claims that Ford owners have experienced unacceptable rates of sudden unintended acceleration (SUA), citing a report issued in October 2011 by the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General. Plaintiffs allege that Ford should have prevented the SUA incidents by including the brake-over-accelerator system or other fail-safe systems in its vehicles. They maintain that, while Ford began installing a BOA system on some of its North American cars beginning in 2010, the company has failed to remedy, or even warn drivers about the lack of a brake-over-accelerator system on its earlier vehicles.
The cars named in the complaint are:
Ford vehicles: 2005-2007 500; 2005-2009 Crown Victoria; 2005-2010 Econoline; 2007 2010 Edge; 2009-2010 Escape; 2005-2010 Escape HEV; 2005-2010 Expedition; 2004-2010 Explorer; 2007-2010 Explorer Sport Trac; 2004-2010 F-Series; 2009-2010 Flex; 2008-2010 Focus; 2005-2007 Freestyle; 2006-2010 Fusion; 2005-2010 Mustang; 2008-2010 Taurus; 2008-2009 Taurus X; 2002-2005 Thunderbird; and 2010 Transit Connect.
Lincoln vehicles: 2003-2006 LS; 2006-2008 Mark LT; 2009-2010 MKS; 2010 MKT; 2007-2010 MKX; 2006-2010 MKZ; 2005-2009 Town Car; and 2006-2010 Zephyr.
Mercury vehicles: 2002-2005 Cougar (XR7); 2005-2009 Grand Marquis; 2009-2010 Mariner; 2005-2010 Mariner HEV; 2006-2010 Milan; 2005-2007 Montego; 2004-2010 Mountaineer; and 2008-2010 Sable.
The potential class action was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia in Huntington. The plaintiffs, both individually and on behalf of all other class members, seek compensatory damages for the lost value of their cars, the difference between what they originally paid for their cars versus the actual value of their defective vehicles. Plaintiffs also seek injunctive relief, requesting that Ford fix the problem.
Shack Sacked for Tracking? RadioShack got hit with a potential class action this week…The lawsuit claims the electronics retailer secretly tracks the Internet browsing activities of website visitors and shares this private information with third parties. Well, if so, they’re certainly not the first to do that, and I’m betting they won’t be the last…
Short version, the Radio Shack class action was filed in Missouri, by plaintiff Stephanie Hanson who alleges she visited the RadioShack website numerous times during the past five years but was unaware that the company, together with its website operator, GSI Commerce Solutions Inc., had accessed Adobe Flash Player on her computer. Adobe Flash Player is software that enables the playing of sound and video on websites. By accessing this software, the defendants were able to plant tracking devices known as Location Shared Objects (LSOs) on her computer, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit, entitled, Hanson v. RadioShack Corp. et al., Case No. 13-cv-00536, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, seeks to represent a proposed class comprised of all Missouri residents who, within the past five years, had their computers illegally tampered with by RadioShack and GSI. Additionally, the lawsuit is seeking damages for alleged invasion of privacy by unreasonable intrusion, computer tampering, trespassing and more.
It was a very busy week for settlements, and car manufacturers Ford and Toyota led the pack.
First up—Toyota. The Toyota sudden and unwanted acceleration lawsuit claims that certain Toyota, Scion and Lexus vehicles equipped with electronic throttle control systems (ETCS) are defective and can experience unintended acceleration. Yes, that old chestnut…
As a result, the Toyota lawsuit pursues claims for breach of warranties, unjust enrichment, and violations of various state consumer protection statutes. Toyota denies that it has violated any law, denies that it engaged in any and all wrongdoing, and denies that its ETCS is defective. The parties agreed to resolve these matters before these issues were decided by the Court.
Heads up—this settlement does not involve claims of personal injury or property damage.
If you are class member, you may be entitled to one or more of the following:
For more information including class member options and filing dates visit: toyotaelsettlement.com
Then there’s Ford. They reached a proposed settlement in the pending Ford defective engine class action lawsuit. The background: On April 13, 2011, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation created MDL No. 2223, In re: Navistar 6.0L Diesel Engine Products Liability Litigation, and transferred seven lawsuits involving similar claims to the Court for pretrial proceedings. Thirty-two additional lawsuits have since been transferred to the Court. The plaintiffs contend that the 6.0-liter diesel engine installed primarily in 2003 – 2007 heavy-duty Ford trucks and vans contain defects that result in poor performance and expensive repair bills. Plaintiffs assert a variety of legal claims against Ford based on the engine’s design, the marketing of the vehicles, and Ford’s repair practices. Plaintiffs seek to pursue their lawsuits (the “Litigation”) as a class action on behalf of other owners and lessees of model year 2003_2007 non-ambulance Ford vehicles equipped with a 6.0 liter diesel engine (the “Class”).
1. purchased or leased a model year 2003_2007 non-ambulance Ford vehicle in the United States equipped with a 6.0-liter PowerStroke diesel engine; and
2. the vehicle received one or more repairs covered by Ford_s New Vehicle Limited Warranty during its first five years in service or 100,000 miles, whichever came first, to a fuel injector; the EGR valve; the EGR cooler; the oil cooler; or the turbocharger; and
3. you had not, as of November 1, 2012, filed (and not voluntarily dismissed without prejudice) an individual lawsuit based on that engine;
You may be a member of a proposed Settlement Class and entitled to reimbursement for certain engine-related repair costs and deductibles.
If the Court approves the proposed Settlement, Ford will provide Class Members a means of obtaining reimbursement for certain engine-related repair costs and deductibles. All persons (or entities) who agree to accept these benefits will be barred from pursuing individual lawsuits against Ford and others based on the 6.0-liter engines in these vehicles.
For complete information on the pending settlement, your legal rights, and obtaining and filing forms, visit: http://www.dieselsettlement.com/Casedocuments.html
Ok—that’s a wrap. See you at that bar…and Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy belated Holi, etc…